M1859/67 " 'a Tabatiere" Carabine de Chasseur (Jaeger Rifle)
GENERALLY: The "Carabine de Chasseur" is the most distinctive of the M1867 conversions of French long arms to the "Tabatiere" swinging breach block system, copied from the Snider patent. It is noticably shorter than the Snider converted M1853-4 infantry rifles or dragoons and shorter still than the converted 1822 rifles.
PHOTO: The rifle shown is a Mle 1859/67 Tabatiere "Carabine de Chasseur". It was converted from the muzzle loader utilizing the Mdl 1867 system. See Mle 1853/67 Tabatiere Infantry Rifle
DISTINGUISHING CHARECTERISTICS: Although it's nomenclature if "Carabine de Chasseur" this term is most closely synonomous with the "jager" rifle of contemporary Europeon armies and measures some 1.262 meters (about 52 inches). It is distringuished from the infantry rifles and dragoon rifles by it's sabre bayonet lug and tenon mounted on the right side of the barrel, a nosecap that is noticibly simplier than that found on the rifles, a very long laddar sight with the barrel fixed with only one barrel band, and a distinctive very (very) large bell shaped ram/cleaning rod.
MISC NOTES: Calibre of the Mle 1859/67 Tabatiere "Carabine de Chasseur" is 18.2mm whilst the rifles and dragoons are 17.8mm. The following wonderful letter more fully illustrates this interesting rifle.
Date: 03-01-16 03:23:25 EST
I noticed a small inaccuracy on your site : the 59/67 "Carabine de chasseur "is a 17.8 mm caliber rifle, like all others of the same period. The unique characteristic of the barrel is a progressive rifling (4 grooves .5 mm deep at the breech and .2 mm deep at the muzzle, 2 m pitch). The "carabine de chasseur" in the 18th and first half of the 19th century was not a carbine as usually thought now (a short and light rifle for cavalry : this type of gun was then named "mousqueton", meaning small musket : in modern French, a mousqueton is a carbine hook) but the magnum of the regulation guns ("Carabine de chasseur" is the exact traduction of the German "Jaeger rifle", the denomination of the same type of gun in the various German armies). It was a rifled gun with a heavy barrel : the barrel of the 59/67 carabine has a muzzle diameter of 23.2 mm against 22 mm for the other guns of the same caliber, mounting a special bayonet (model 42/59) with a "C" stamped on the guard. It used, both in muzzle loading version (model 59) and the breech loading conversion (model 59/67) a heavier bullet (700 grains against 560) with an heavier powder charge than the rifle. 18.2 mm seems to refer to the diameter of the breech loading cartridge bullet (the Minie bullet in the muzzle loading version was of 17.2 mm caliber to allow for fouling). Interestingly, the dimensions of the cartridge hull of a "tabatiere" are exactly the same as a modern 12 gauge shotshell... I own a mint 59/67 "Carabine de chasseur" if you need any details or pictures. It is a rare late conversion with a so called second-type breech block (with the V-spring on the after face). Incidently, all regulation guns before the Gras rifle where "in the white", being made of iron (transition to steel barrels was progressive from 1864). Bluing (in fact a deep matte black : "noir de guerre") was introduced because the steel proved more prone to rusting than iron... The case colored looking finish on your example of a tabatiere rifle can thus not be original.
Salutations / Best regards
Distinct from all of the other Tabatieres is the sabre bayonet lug mount, the large
bell shaped cleaning rod and the nosecap which differs from the others as well.
Note the long ladder sight. This also is different from the other Tabatieres.
This view of the Carabine is quite typical of all Tabatieres built prior to the Franco- Prussian War of 1870-71 (when numbers of earlier muzzle loading arms were converted to "Tabatiere" utilizing bronze breech-blocks, most notably, but not only, the Mle 1822T.bis/67.
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Revised February 8, September 26, 1999
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Revised February 12, 2002
Revised August 31, 2003
Updated: Oct 29, 2021